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Reports: NFL may use draft picks as incentive to hire minority coaches, GMs

The proposal would see teams improve their draft position as much as 16 places.

WASHINGTON — The NFL is considering updating its rule to encourage the hiring of minority head coaches and general managers by offering a sweetener: A higher pick in the draft. That's according to sources who spoke to NFL.com and ESPN.

Under the proposal, a team could see its third-round selection move up six spots with the hiring of a minority coach. It could move up 10 spots with the hiring of a minority GM. If a team were to hire both in the same year, then the two would be combined to move up 16 spots. That could allow a team to move that pick from high in the third round to the middle of the second round.

The improved position would come in the draft before the hire's second season. So if the person was hired before the 2021 season, the reward would not occur until the 2022 draft.

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In another incentive, if the coach or GM is still with the team after two seasons, then the team will see its fourth-round pick move up five spots in the following draft.

ESPN reports that if a minority candidate leaves one team for a head coach or GM job, their former team will get a third-round compensatory pick. If the candidate leaves to become a coordinator, then the former team gets a fifth-round pick.

There are currently four people of color among the 32 NFL head coaches: the Pittsburgh Steelers' Mike Tomlin, Los Angeles Chargers' Anthony Lynn, Miami Dolphins' Brian Flores and newly hired Ron Rivera, of the Washington Redskins.

Credit: AP
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin walks the sideline during the first half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

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NFL.com adds that a team which hires a person of color as its quarterbacks coach would get a compensatory pick at the end of the fourth round. There are two black quarterback coaches in the league.

The proposal is expected to be addressed at next Tuesday's virtual owners meeting. Twenty-four of the 32 owners would need to approve for it to pass.

The NFL's Rooney Rule, enacted in 2003, requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate for vacant head coaching or general manager jobs. But it does not include coordinator-level jobs -- seen as major stepping stones to becoming a head coach. Teams can also conduct interviews as window dressing to fulfill the requirement but have no intention of hiring the candidate from the start.

Another proposal reportedly on the table would remove a team's power to block assistant coaches from interviewing for coordinator positions.

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